Twelve women and one man are learning how to produce handmade jewelry at the The Samuel Haynes Institute of Excellence. Leading in the instruction is Miguel Loaeza-Carrillo, a Mexican artisan from the Institute for the Development of the Mayan Culture of Yucatan. He knows his stuff, and as we saw, he can make jewelry out of just about anything:
Alice Williams - Organizer
"Well this workshop is very important for the women because it's an income-generating workshop. It helped the women to develop skills in order for them to sustain themselves. We know that it's only jewelry, but jewelry sells, and it can make a lot of money. So it can help sustain them and their families. So of these materials are bamboos; they use different seeds; they use a little bit of bead - some stone beeds - and so for; and a lot of coconut shells, and things that you would normally would throw away. For example, the wine cork - the cork that goes into the wine bottle - things like these. The quality of produces so far, I could say that it is very good. From what you see here, they are very elegant pieces; they aer unique pieces. And I think that on the market, they could make a good $10 - whatever - for those items."
Miguel Loaeza - Instructor
"This is a very nice opportunity for the ministry, for Joyce, because that one, it's money. the gifts that the girls make, maybe she can sell them on the street, Tourism Village, Downtown, or maybe in the school for $2/$3; it's easy, but it's money."
Joyce Williams - Participant
"We would like the public to know that there are still things out here that we can venture with, and make some money, especially now that we have the cruise ship that is becoming so popular in Belize City. And we have a lot these people that are doing their jewelry out there on the front page of that area. We want to encourage those that are thinking about doing it, that they can get hope, yes, there is hope for them to get on into the area of the Cruise Ship Tourist Street. Like I said, Belize City on a whole, is the heartbeat of the cruize ship industry, and this is something that the tourists love, so when they come into the city, they cane see the variety of things that the actual person that is selling it has made. It's not somethng from China, Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador; it's from the person that is actually selling the item."
The workshop is part of the activities of Ziricote Belize Inc., a sewing and handicrafts program for Belizean women. Ziricote Belize Inc. is the brand name for the products produced in association with an OAS project...